A paranormal thriller that’s sure to please both Hooper’s fans and those who like the genre.


Hooper’s latest in her Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series (Blood Ties, 2010, etc.) takes readers to a small North Carolina mountain town with the operatives of Haven.

Haven, the privately held pet project of a billionaire interested in psychic phenomena and crime fighting, sends its operative Jessie home to Baron Hollow, the town she fled 15 years earlier. When Jessie ran, she left behind her younger sister, Emma, and cold, reserved father. Since then, their father has died and Emma now runs the ancestral family home as an inn. But Jessie needs to return home in order to resolve exactly what sent her fleeing Baron Hollow in the first place. When she arrives, she and operative Nathan Navarro, a fellow psychic sent to back her up without her knowledge, each sense a dark presence in the town. Soon, Navarro turns up the body of a young woman in the wild mountains and hiking trails near the town, and there’s little doubt in Navarro’s mind that a serial killer is working in the area. Jessie has come to the same conclusion after seeing several ghosts bearing warnings. And even Emma, who has never openly admitted to a penchant for psychic ability, is uneasy and suffering from bad dreams in which she keeps seeing young women brutalized and murdered. Before long, Jessie starts digging up painful past personal history and making waves in a town where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everyone else’s business. And, while Jessie puzzles through to find an answer to all that’s tormenting her, the killer continues to target helpless young women who stumble into the Hollow. Hooper weaves an intricate and complicated story into a coherent plot with plenty of twists and turns, but the tale she tells is dark and sometimes difficult to read. There’s also an element of recklessness about Jessie’s personality and reactions to obvious danger that’s both discomfiting and unconvincing. However, Hooper is a good storyteller and manages to make it all seem believable.

A paranormal thriller that’s sure to please both Hooper’s fans and those who like the genre.

Pub Date: July 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-425-25874-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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